Hard water takes away the cleaning power of detergent and can even leave behind a nasty residue on clothes. Water softeners are an important tool for maintaining the longevity of your washing machine and making sure you get a good clean.
In this article, I’ll explore the different types of water softeners and the features that make them the best choice for washing clothes. I’ll also discuss the pros and cons of each type and provide tips for choosing the right water softener for your laundry.
Hard water can have a significant effect on your washing machine, reducing its efficiency and causing it to break down prematurely.
The minerals found in hard water are abrasive, which can wear away at the rubber seals and other components over time. Additionally, these minerals can build up and clog pipes, making it harder for hot water to reach the detergent compartment of the washer. This will lead to an increase in soap residue left behind on clothes after they are washed. As a result, fabrics may become stiff or feel rough to the touch due to this residue buildup.
Here are some advantages of using soft water in washing machines:
Improved Cleaning Performance: Soft water reduces the amount of soap needed to get your clothes clean and helps the soap lather better. You’ll get better cleaning results and your clothes will look brighter and smell fresher.
Longer Lasting Clothes: Soft water is gentler on fabrics, which makes them last longer. This means that you’ll get more wear out of your clothing and be able to save money in the long run.
Reduced Stains: Soft water will help reduce the number of stains that are left on clothes after laundry. This is because it doesn’t leave behind any minerals that could cause the stains to set in.
Easier Ironing: Ironing clothes after washing with hard water can be difficult because the minerals in the water can leave mineral deposits on the clothing. Soft water eliminates this problem and makes ironing easier.
Less Wear and Tear on Appliances: Washing machines and other laundry appliances can be damaged over time by hard water. Soft water helps reduce the amount of wear and tear on these appliances and can extend their life.
Reduced Risk of Allergens: Many people have allergies to the minerals found in hard water. By using soft water, you reduce the risk of triggering an allergic reaction.
5 Best Water Softeners for Laundry
#1. Best Overall: iSpring ED2000 Salt-Free Water Descaler
- [Improve Water Quality] Solves hard water problems without the need for chemicals, salt, or maintenance, while keeping healthy minerals in the water by preventing scale deposits from forming and allowing existing scale to break down.
- [Reliable Descaler] Descales your entire water system and prevents scale buildup in pipes. Reduces energy consumption with an average one year payback period. Great for your home and the environment, individuals on salt-restricted diets, and those looking for healthier skin and hair.
- [Environmental Friendly] Designed for very hard water areas (10-19 grains per gallon). Saves energy and extends the life of your appliances.
- [Easy Installation] No plumbing modifications required. Maintenance-free. Works on any pipe, even PEX and PVC. 1-year money-back and lifetime tech support from iSpring.
- [No change on Chemistry of Water] Unlike salt water softeners, ED2000 does not change the chemistry of water.
- Softener Type: Electromagnetic wave (works on any pipe)
- Water hardness: 10-19 grains per gallon
- Dimensions: 7 x 3.5 x 2 inches
- Warranty: 1-year money-back and lifetime tech support
The iSpring Water Descaler provides a simple solution for the problems caused by hard water. By targeting limescale build-up with its adaptive process, this unit ensures that machines can tolerate 10-19 grains per gallon of hardness– helping you to get cleaner, softer laundry. This descaling device works efficiently and helps to extend the lifespan of your washing machine.
This descaler easily attaches to your water supply pipe, removing minerals and sediment that impede optimal operation. With less strain on the system, you’ll enjoy long-term efficiency gains with no maintenance required. In addition, its simple setup means you don’t have to shell out extra money for a costly installation process!
The iSpring ED2000 Descaler is perfect for washing machines because it does not affect the flow rate, so you don’t have to worry about any added pressure or frustration from dealing with poor water quality. Furthermore, there is no change in the chemistry of your water – meaning all you get are soft, clean clothes without adjusting a thing!
This salt-free descaler provides long-lasting and sustainable results with maximum comfort and minimum hassle.
- Improves the efficiency of washing machine
- Prevents splotchy clothes after washing
- Simple to install and use
- Compatible with all types of pipes
#2. Best Grain Capacity: AFWFilters Iron Pro 2 Combination
- Tank color may vary depending on stock. Water softener, iron filter, all in one! high flow for whole house use!
- 64,000 grain capacity, fine mesh resin designed for high iron removal & long life
- Fleck 5600SXT digital metered valve for efficiency and ease of use, 5 year warranty!
- Removes hardness from your water and also Iron up to 6 ppm range, Manganese up to 6 ppm, sediment, sand, rust
- Pentair tank with 10 year warranty! Comes complete with brine tank, DIY instructions, bypass valve
- Softener Type: Salt-based
- Grain Capacity: 64,000
- Dimensions: 14 x 7 x 21 inches
- Warranty: 5-year
The Iron Pro 2 Water Softener provides super-charged cleaning power – its 64,000-grain capacity with a fine mesh resin design allows users to make the most of every clean cycle. It will reduce the water hardness and provide a more effective lather during washing cycles, resulting in cleaner clothes that stay bright and vibrant for longer.
The digital metered valve makes it easy to control regeneration cycles without having to manually adjust settings. Its sleek design also eliminates the need to access tight working spaces which can be tricky in larger sinks or washing machines.
The Iron Pro 2 Water Softener ensures that up to 6 parts per million (ppm) of iron and manganese are taken out for smoother, cleaner clothes with each wash. Installation is easy with the included DIY instructions and bypass valve.
- High grain capacity of 64,000
- Includes a bypass valve
- Easy to install and use
- You have to reprogram it if the power goes out
#3. Best Value for Money: Pentair WS48 Fleck Water Softener
- Fleck 5600Sxt digital metered control head
- 1.5 cu. Ft. Upgraded 10 percent crosslink resin loaded in tank already
- Easy to install with AFW install kit, reliable long lasting water treatment
- Complete system including standard 14x33 brine tank, mineral tank, valve with bypass and adapte
- Softener Type: Salt-based
- Grain Capacity: 48,000
- Flow Rate: 14 Gallons per minute
- Dimensions: 10 x 10 x 54 inches
- Warranty: 5-year
Enjoy the convenience of ultimate control with Pentair Fleck Water Softener for laundry. Its 5600SXT digital meter and easy-to-use touchpad make controlling your water-softening system easier than ever before! Easy-to-program settings, take readings, and adjust options are at your fingertips – allowing you to customize automated processes and tweak performance when needed.
It comes with a high-grade bypass valve and an adapter. This upgraded model comes with a massive 1.5 cubic ft tank that ensures a smooth flow of softened water. The large tank size allows it to handle even larger amounts of water, making it ideal for washing large loads at once or over an extended period of time – ensuring fast operation as well as better cost savings.
It’s 10% additional crosslink resins limit chlorine damage to your fabrics while helping to remove excess amounts of iron that can make clothes appear dingy or worn. Your whites will sparkle with fewer yellowing stains caused by minor levels of iron, leaving you with bright clean laundry! The fleck also optimizes the washing process for a better overall result.
Pentair Fleck Water Softeners provide an unrivaled 14 gallons per minute flow rate, which is perfect for those that require fast and efficient laundry cycles. With 48,000 grains of hardness-reducing capacity, this efficient system will save you time as well as money on soap and energy bills while providing stellar results with each cycle.
- A high flow rate of 14 GPM
- Upgraded resin for better efficiency with city water
- Easy-to-use and programmable LED control valve
- Not DIY friendly, you’ll need to hire a plumber to install this unit
#4. Best Compact: NuvoH2O Home Water Softener System
- The Home Water Softener System is ideal for homes that are smaller than 1,500 sq. ft. and experience symptoms of hard water and have bad tasting or smelling water in their homes.
- Prevents hard water scale buildup. Removes existing hard water scale. Compact design - fits almost anywhere. Simple cartridge replacement. Cartridge lasts up to 6 months.
- Developed from 30+ years of commercial experience. Extends the life of your water heater, plumbing fixtures, and appliances. Eco-friendly - no salt, no phosphates, no wastewater, no electricity.
- Retains healthy minerals in your water. No slick feeling like you get with other water softeners. Complies with NSF/ANSI Standard 42
- Softener Type: Chelation water softener cartridge
- Best for: Homes with less than 1,500 sq. ft.
- Cartridge Replacement: 6-Months
- Dimensions: 5 x 5 x 24 inches
NuvoH2O water softener is perfect for smaller homes with less than 1,500 sq. ft. of space. This system gives homeowners the opportunity to eliminate uncomfortable hard water scale buildup and scale deposits in their washing machines and on clothes without taking up too much valuable home space.
It uses 100% natural ingredients that continuously protect pipes, fixtures, and appliances against corrosion while conditioning and softening the water all while still being eco-friendly!
Thanks to the easy replacement cartridge, users no longer have to worry about complicated maintenance procedures. Each cartridge lasts up to 6 months, meaning peace of mind since users do not have to replace it frequently – a major benefit compared to traditional salt-based softeners!
This high-performance system meets the NSF ANSI Standard 42, giving you peace of mind that its results are reliable and trustworthy. Moreover, it prevents and removes scale buildup without damaging the healthy minerals your family needs!
- Compact design
- NSF/ANSI Certified
- Eco-friendly operation
- Easy-to-install and maintain
- This basic model is ideal for a small home
#5. Best Electric: Eddy Water Descaler Water Softener Alternative
- No salt alternative to a water softener. Emulates softened water without changing your water hardness. Retains healthy minerals in your water supply.
- Made in BRITAIN. 12 month 100% "no quibble" Money-Back Guarantee + Lifetime Repair or Replace warranty.
- Easy customer installation on metal or plastic pipes. Helps prevent build-up of lime scale and dissolve existing deposits.
- Descales entire water system. Maintenance-free with great results up to and above 20 gpg.
- Environmentally friendly. No salt added to your water and users report great improvements to hair and skin. Please scroll down page to see full Product Description.
- Softener Type: Electromagnetic wave
- Water Hardness: 20 GPG
- Maximum Flow Rate: 10 Gallons Per Minute
- Dimensions: 6.69 x 1.57 x 3.54 inches
This Water Descaler provides water that is soft enough for washing machines and clothes without reducing essential minerals in the water. It works by failing hard particles to stay separate from the softened stream of water, allowing them to pass freely through your machine with no filter or maintenance required. Not only does this product make laundry easier, but it also keeps healthy minerals in your water for better hydration on a cellular level.
The Eddy Water Descaler is the easier and more economically priced alternative to water softeners. This sure-fire system requires no maintenance, delivering you up to and above 20 GPG of reliably soft water.
The unit is made in Britain, which guarantees high quality. Not to mention, you get a 1-year money-back guarantee, as well as a lifetime replacement warranty ensuring your satisfaction whether now or down the line.
- No maintenance required
- Easy to install
- Retain healthy minerals
- Not as efficient as the traditional water softeners
What to Look for When Buying a Water Softener for Laundr
Here’s a quick guide to help you find the best water softener for your needs:
The type of water softener you choose will depend on the size of your home, your water hardness, and the amount of water used. There are three main types of water softeners: salt-based, salt-free, and magnetic water softeners. Each type works differently to remove minerals from your water, so it’s important to choose the right type for your needs.
The size of your home and the amount of water used will determine the capacity of the water softener you need. Generally, water softeners are rated in grains per gallon (GPG). Small homes that use less water can usually get by with a smaller capacity water softener such as a 16,000-grain capacity, while larger households will require a more powerful machine.
Many water softeners are easy to install, but make sure you read the instructions carefully before attempting the installation yourself. If you don’t feel comfortable with the installation process, you may want to hire a professional.
Water softeners require regular maintenance to ensure they are functioning properly. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule, which will typically include adding salt, cleaning the system, and checking for any signs of wear or damage.
Soft water is a result of removing minerals, such as calcium and magnesium from hard water. The result is a gentle and clean form of water that’s ideal for laundry and other household tasks. Soft water works more efficiently with detergents, allowing them to dissolve more easily in cold temperatures. Which can help you save time and money on your hot washes. Additionally, soft water does not leave behind any residue or soap scum that can damage fabrics or cause colors to fade over time.
Hard water contains a high amount of minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, that can wreak havoc on clothes. When hard water is used to wash clothes, it leaves behind deposits that stick to the fabric fibers. These deposits build up over time and are difficult to remove with regular detergent alone. As a result, the fabrics become stiff and brittle which leads to fading colors. Whites may turn yellow or gray due to the mineral buildup on them which is almost impossible to get rid of without special treatments designed for hard water stains.
Water softener tablets are a great way to improve the quality of your laundry. They help reduce unwanted minerals that can cause scale buildup in your washing machine and make your clothes look dull and feel rough. These tablets are designed to be used in high-efficiency washers, which need more water softening than normal machines.The best thing about water softener tablets is that they’re easy to use. Simply place one tablet into the detergent drawer or dispenser before you start a load of laundry. The tablet will dissolve quickly and work its magic as it mixes with the water during the wash cycle. You’ll start to notice softer clothing right away!